Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Connaissance du cinéma

Un nouveaux chef-d'œuvre d’André Habib? Maybe... Even though I'm not so sure if the hyperbole is really necessary since these six episodes of Connaissance du cinéma (Canal Savoir) are so modest in their scope while simultaneously also being so richly personal and full of a breath of information. The show is described as an educational series where film professionals from two different generations discuss their area of expertise. There are episodes on sound recording, filmmakers, projectionist, home movies, and an old camera collector. The guests include Marcel Carrière and Stephen de Oliveira, Pierre Hébert and Karl Lemieux, Guy Fournier and Julie De Lorimier, François Auger and Annie Hardy, François Lemai and Louis Pelletier.

The original idea of the series is André Habib’s and was produced with the assistance of the University of Montréal and TECHNÈS. Connaissance du cinéma continues the project of Habib's La Main Gauche de Jean-Pierre Léaud as it focuses on a hidden history of cinephilia in Québéc that goes beyond the general list of important film titles and auteurs to focus on its more intimate incarnations and enthusiastic passions. But now it's being recorded which adds another layer of interest and dynamism to the project. 

The Cinemathèque québécoise is the home base of the series as the people moving through it discuss, among many other things: the audio-recording technology at the time of Brault and adapting an unrealized Bazin project. Robert Daudelin is cited for his point that it is the film projection that has been the most important aspect of the history of cinema. Home movies are presented as a counter-point to the more official Québécois film cannon. And finally François Lemai takes us through a guided tour of his own incredible vintage camera collection, which is partly stored at his own house and at the University of Laval. (Which I can imagine inspired Habib and Pelletier’s most recent ‘Cinema in the Eye of the collector’ conference).

What stands out through all of these episodes is everyone’s openness about their work, passion and collaboration. Through the multi-generational and mixed gender pairing there’s a real sense of the continuation of history into the present that is mutually enjoyable and beneficial. Everyone seems to have such a strong, articulate and particular understanding of what cinema is for them. And the fact that a show on such a specific aspect of cinema, film technology and cinephilia even got made is an incredible feat – there must have been a lot of perseverance by everyone involved.

From the perspective of here in Toronto, where people tend to keep themselves and focus on their own careers, protect and rarefy their own set of knowledge and skills, and where it's so easy to feel cut off from an older, more institutionalized generation; there’s something about Connaissance du cinéma (and probably also the magazine 24 Images) that makes Montréal look like a utopia for film.

But, maybe, as we all know: the grass is always greener...

 I need to thank Guillaume Potvin for bringing this show to my attention. You can watch all six episodes of Connaissance du cinéma on the Canal Savoir website : http://www.canalsavoir.tv/emission/connaissance_du_cinema

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What a Wonderful Feeling: Ciment and Vachaud on Kubrick

Une bonne journée! You can find the Kubrick experts Michel Ciment and Laurent Vachaud on a special episode of  Les Nuits de France Culture, Comprendre l'œuvre du génie Kubrick. Highly recommended! 

As well, I'll like to point out that the Emilio D'Alessandro documentary S is for Stanley is now on Canadian Netflix. 

Two great additions that show how bountiful Stanley Kubrick's oeuvre really is! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

100 Best Canadian Films – Paul Williams

A passionate cinephile and a general behind-the-scenes guy of the Toronto film scene, Paul Williams has a way to appreciate the best in Canadian cinema while holding it up to the same standards as the best of contemporary cinema and film history. I’m super pleased to be sharing his list! 
100 Best Canadian Films are personal surveys of some of the most important works of the nation’s film history. Other contributors include Greg Klymkiw, Pat Mullen, Jason Anderson, Daniel Kremer, Yves Lever, Piers Handling, Marcel Jean, Mike Hoolboom and myself. – D.D. 
Special thanks to Gerald Pratley's feature film guide  Century of Canadian Cinema for the refresher... – P.W.

Paul Williams’ 100 Best Canadian Films
100. Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)*
99. The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati (Michael McNamara, 1996)
98. Bestiaire (Denis Cote, 2012)
97. Corral (Colin Low, 1954)
96. Paul Tomkowitz: Street Railway Switchman (Roman Kroiter, 1953)
95. The Days Before Christmas (Stanley Jackson, Wolf Koenig, Terence McCartney-Filgate, 1958)
94. In the Labyrinth (Roman Kroiter, Colin Low, Hugh O'Connor, 1979)
93. Bearwalker (Shirley Cheechoo, 2001)
92. Gross Misconduct (Atom Egoyan, 1994)
91. Adoration (Atom Egoyan, 2009)
90. Felicia's Journey (Atom Egoyan, 1999)
89. Family Viewing (Atom Egoyan, 1987)
88. Gambling, Gods and LSD (Peter Mettler, 2001)
87. Frozen River (Courtney Hunt, 2008)*
86. La Region Centrale (Michael Snow, 1971)
85. Trigger (Bruce McDonald, 2010)
84. Quebec-U.S.A ou l'invasion Pacifique (Claude Jutra, Michel Brault, 1962)
83. Entre la Mer et L'eau Douce (Michel Brault, 1965)
82. Masala (Srinivas Krishna, 1991)
81. Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995)
80. Frank's Cock (Mike Hoolboom, 1993)
79. Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990)
78. Big Bear (Gil Cardinal, 1998)**
77. Comic Book Confidential (Ron Mann, 1988)
76. Waydowntown (Gary Burns, 2000)
75. Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, 2015)
74. Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1974)
73. Pontypool (Bruce McDonald, 2011)
72. Opening Speech (Norman McLaren, 1960)
71. Nobody Waved Goodbye (Don Owen, 1964)
70. A Tout Prendre (Claude Jutra, 1963)
69. Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)
68. Curling (Denis Cote, 2010)
67. Rocks at Whiskey Trench (Alanis Obomsawin, 2000)
66. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Dairy (Guy Maddin, 2002)
65. My American Cousin (Sandy Wilson, 1985)
64. Wedding in White (William Fruet, 1972)
63. The Mask (Julian Roffman, 1961)
62. Paperback Hero (Peter Pearson, 1973)
61. The Hard Part Begins (Paul Lynch, 1974)
60. Deathdream (Bob Clark, 1972)
59. Death Weekend (William Fruet, 1976)
58. Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)
57. Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1985)
56. Gina (Denys Arcand, 1975)
55. Cotton Mill, Treadmill (Denys Arcand, 1970)
54. Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)
53. Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (Brett Sullivan, 2004)
52. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
51. The Suburbanators (Gary Burns, 1995)
50. Warrendale (Allan King, 1967)
49. Dance Me Outside (Bruce McDonald, 1994)
48. Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand, 1986)
47. Between Friends (Donald Shebib, 1973)
46. Lonely Boy (Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroiter, 1963)
45. Winds of Fogo (Colin Low, 1970)
44. Mon Oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971)
43. A Winter Tan (Jackie Burroughs, 1988)
42. Leolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992)
41. 49th Parallel (Michael Powell, 1941)
40. Ararat (Atom Egoyan, 2002)
39. Kitchen Party (Gary Burns, 1997)
38. Kissed (Lynne Stopkewich, 1996)
37. Hard Core Logo (Bruce McDonald, 1996)
36. Bye Bye Blues (Anne Wheeler, 1989)
35. The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, 2000)
34. Spider (David Cronenberg, 2002)
33. Picture of Light (Peter Mettler, 1994)
32. Project Grizzly (Peter Lynch, 1996)
31. Les Ordres (Michel Brault, 1970)
30. Les Raquetteurs (Pierre Perrault, 1958)
29. Getting Started (Richard Condie, 1979)
28. L'Acadie, l'Acadie (Pierre Perrault, 1971)
27. Careful (Guy Maddin, 1992)
26. Calendar (Atom Egoyan, 1993)
25. The Top of His Head (Peter Mettler, 1989)
24. The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
23. eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999)
22. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
21. Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
20. Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1982)
19. Last Night (Don McKellar, 1999)
18. Thirty-Two Shorts Films About Glenn Gould (Francois Girard, 1993)
17. My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)
16. Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)
15. Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)
14. Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (Guy Maddin, 2002)
13. The Big Snit (Richard Condie, 1985)
12. Neighbours (Norman McLaren, 1952)
11. Pas de Deus (Norman McLaren, 1968)
10. Universe (Roman Kroiter, Colin Low, 1960)
9. Brand Upon the Brain (Guy Maddin, 2006)
8. Pour la Suite du Monde (Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault, 1963)
7. Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg, 2007)
6. Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (Alanis Obomsawin, 1993)
5. Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)
4. La Lutte (Michel Brault, Claude Jutra et al, 1961)
3. Before Tomorrow (Marie-Helene Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, 2008)
2. Twitch City (Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar, 1998-9) **
1. Atanarjuat the Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2001)
* Not technically Canadian, but relax...
** Not technically a movie; relax!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

100 Best Canadian Films – Greg Klymkiw

You might recognize Greg Klymkiw from his small roles in a few classic Canadian films from Winnipeg: John Paizs’ Springtime in Greenland and Crime Wave and Guy Maddin’s The Heart of the World. They’re impressive contributions to some really great titles. He's also a regular staple at a lot of Canadian cinema events in Toronto and maintains the impressive blog, The Film Corner with Greg Klymkiw. The brief resume that I was sent indicates that, “Greg Klymkiw is a producer, writer, programmer, critic and teacher. In his over forty years in the movie business, he has been responsible for a whole whack of iconoclastic works. He was the longtime Marketing Director of the Winnipeg Film Group and a longtime member of the faculty at Norman Jewison's Canadian Film Centre.” Klymkiw’s is the latest contributor to 100 Best Canadian films that includes so far Pat Mullen, Jason Anderson, Daniel Kremer, Yves Lever, Piers Handling, Marcel Jean, Mike Hoolboom and myself. – D.D.
Are these the best? Well, possibly. Are they my favorites? Well, limited to one-hundred titles, then yeah, sure, they're my favorites. It's in chronological order and within years of release, they're alphabetical. Some of them are features, some are shorts. There's a mix of drama, documentary, animation and experimental. And yeah, you might find a few on this list that I produced. Why? Because it's my list and I can do whatever I want. – G.K.

Greg Klymkiw's 101 Best Canadian Films
- Back to God’s Country (Nell Shipman, 1919)
- Neighbours (Norman McLaren, 1952)
- A Dangerous Age (Sidney J. Furie, 1958)
- Circle of the Sun (Colin Low, 1960)
- Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961)
- The Bitter Ash (Larry Kent, 1963)
- Pour la suite du monde (Michel Brault, 1963)
- The Luck of Ginger Coffey (Irvin Kershner, 1964)
- Nobody Waved Goodbye (Don Owen, 1964)
- Paddle to the Sea (Bill Mason, 1966)

- Warrendale (Allan King, 1967)
- And No Birds Sing (Victor Cowie, 1969)
- Goin' Down the Road (Donald Shebib, 1970)
- Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971)
- Rip-Off (Donald Shebib, 1971)
- The Rowdyman (Peter Carter, 1972)
- Wedding in White (William Fruet, 1972)
- Between Friends (Donald Shebib, 1973)
- Paperback Hero (Peter Pearson, 1973)
- The Pyx (Harvey Hart, 1973)

- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ted Kotcheff, 1974)
- Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
- The Hard Part Begins (Paul Lynch, 1974)
- Les Ordres (Michel Brault, 1974)
- Montreal Main (Frank Vitale, 1974)
- Lies My Father Told Me (Jan Kadar, 1975)
- Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
- Death Weekend (William Fruet, 1976)
- Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry (Donald Brittain, 1976)
- Outrageous! (Richard Benner, 1977)

- Rabid (David Cronenberg, 1977)
- The Rubber Gun (Allan Moyle, 1977)
- Skip Tracer (Zale Dalen, 1977)
- Why Shoot The Teacher? (Silvio Narizzano, 1977)
- The Silent Partner (Daryl Duke, 1978)
- The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979)
- Atlantic City (Louis Malle, 1980)
- Les Bons débarras (Francis Mankiewicz, 1980)
- The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1980)
- My Bloody Valentine (George Mihalka, 1981)

- Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper, 1981)
- Springtime in Greenland (John Paizs, 1981)
- Big Meat Eater (Chris Windsor, 1982)
- The Grey Fox (Philip Borsos, 1982)
- The Big Snit (Richard Condie, 1985)
- Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1985)
- Downtime (Greg Hanec, 1985)
- No Sad Songs (Nik Sheehan, 1985)
- One Magic Christmas (Phillip Borsos, 1985)
- Dancing in the Dark (Leon Marr, 1986)

- Life Classes (William D. MacGillivray, 1987)
- A Winter Tan (Jackie Burroughs, John Frizzell, Louise Clark, John Walker, Aerlyn Weissman, 1987)
- The Last Days of Contrition (Richard Kerr, 1988)
- The Milkman Cometh (Lorne Bailey, 1988)
- Primiti Too Taa (Ed Ackerman, Colin Morton, 1988)
- Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand, 1989)
- Next of Kin (Atom Edoyan, 1989)
- Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990)
- Mike (MB Duggan, 1990)
- Leolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992)

- Zero Patience (John Greyson, 1993)
- The Last Supper (Cynthia Roberts, 1994)
- When Night is Falling (Patricia Rozema, 1995)
- Hard Core Logo (Bruce McDonald, 1996)
- Project Grizzly (Peter Lynch, 1996)
- City of Dark (Bruno Lazaro Pacheco, 1997)
- The Hanging Garden (Thom Fitzgerald, 1997)
- Felicia's Journey (Atom Egoyan, 1999)
- Suspicious River (Lynne Stopkewich, 2000)
- Big Girl (Renuka Jeyapalan, 2005)

- My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)
- Nurse. Fighter. Boy. (Charles Officer, 2008)
- A Hard Name (Alan Zweig, 2009)
- The Saskatchewan Trilogy (Brian Stockton, 2009)
- Modra (Ingrid Veninger, 2010)
- Goon (Michael Dowse, 2011)
- Le vendeur (Sébastien Pilote, 2011)
- American Mary (Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska, 2012)
- The End of Time (Peter Mettler, 2012)
- Keep a Modest Head (deco dawson, 2012)

- A Kind of Wonderful Thing (Jason Lupish, 2012)
- Krivina (Igor Drljača, 2012)
- Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
- The First Winter (Ryan McKenna, 2013)
- The Last Pogo Jumps Again (Colin Brunton, Kire Papputs, 2013)
- Portrait as a Random Act of Violence (Randall Okita, 2013)
- Special Ed (John Paskievich, 2013)
- Le démantèlement (Sébastien Pilote, 2014)
- Altman (Ron Mann, 2014)
- The Captive (Atom Egoyan, 2014)
- The Editor (Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, 2014)
- In Her Place (Albert Shin, 2014)
- Mynarski Death Plummet (Matthew Rankin, 2014)
- Run Run It's Him (Matthew Pollack, 2014)
- Septic Man (Jesse Thomas Cook, 2014)
- Shooting The Musical (Joel Ashton McCarthy, 2014)
- Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, 2015)
- The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, 2015)
- Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World (Charles Wilkinson, 2015)
- How Heavy This Hammer (Kazik Radwanski, 2015)
- Hurt (Alan Zweig, 2015)